Saturday, March 10, 2007

Seeking for the way, or at least one of them

Been thinking spirituality a lot lately. Trying to find something that fits me. It's been difficult; more selecting the one right thing, honestly, than finding something that suits me. A lot of things seem to suit me.

Came across this lovely set of guidelines, though. Posted by Real Life Preacher, pointed out to me by the lovely Hedwyg, they really make sense:

Listen, I'm just a guy with a bad haircut from a small church you've never heard of, but I hope you'll listen to me for a moment because I have something important to say. When it comes to God, religion, spirituality, whatever you want to call it, ignore just about everything you see on television or in movies. If you are serious about making a spiritual connection with a power greater than ourselves, try the following suggestions:

Let go of big things and embrace little things.

Ignore loud things and listen for quiet things.

Put aside obvious things and seek out hidden things.

Forget easy things and learn hard and ancient things.

Stop saving your life and start losing it.

Let your thinking and believing become doing and serving.

Quit trying to arrive and become at home on the journey.

Lose your road maps and find a wise guide to walk with you.

Love the idea of God with all your heart, soul, mind, body, life, work, and strength. And while you're at it, try loving other people as much as you love yourself. You won't be able to do either of these, but trying will be very good for you.

Do these things all of your days and forever. Do these things and live.
Regardless of what path I wind up deciding to follow -- or paths, for that matter -- they all seem to embrace the same general set of guidelines. So perhaps in a way it doesn't matter, as long as I'm doing the good thing.

What's the good thing? The basic rule I've tried for years to follow is don't hurt people any more than you can manage. It's a good start, but I've realized that it needs a corollary: help as you can. From helping the neighbor catch her dog to sending food and clothing to people in some faraway place who need it, it's what I do anyway, and it's the good thing to do.

Yes, it's pretty much Wicca's An ye harm none, do what ye will; it's also Christianity's And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them (Luke 6:31 RSV) and the Hindu This is the sum of duty; do naught unto others which if done to thee would cause thee pain (Mahabharata 5:15:17 c. 500 BCE). It's the Golden Rule, the Ethic of Reciprocity.

So it's a matter of which expression of this is the right one for me. And honestly if I keep on the way I have been, I could be flailing about this for the rest of my life.

I intended to go to church (the local Episcopal church, specifically, as I haven't found an Independant Catholic church in the area) but entirely failed to get up until well after it was over. I'll try to go tomorrow, and with luck that'll work better since I won't have lost an hour overnight. It's been a long time since I've seriously considered Christianity but I have Hedwyg and Mother Laura, among others, to thank for it. Mother Laura's lovely inclusive liturgy, especially, has helped me reconcile my childhood view of an unloving, authoritarian and, eventually, irrelevant God with a God/dess who loves me and takes care of me. Some of Mother Laura's work:

And a piece on Mary as priest:

Somehow the simple concept that the Christian God might just be a Goddess as well makes things a lot simpler for me.

I've also been looking at Hinduism, with thanks to and help from Devichan. Lord Ganesh, remover (and occasional creator) of obstacles, gateway to the rest of the Hindu pantheon. 'No one shall come to Shiva and Parvati save through me'? Just gets me thinking...and I rather like the thought of a portly, sweets-loving, cheerful deity, the personification of Om, whose chosen mount is a mouse. Got a sense of humour, that one. And a temper, but it doesn't seem to ever last long.

I have a pretty bowl I picked up a while ago, and since I can't draw worth anything much I drew an Om on a sticky note instead of trying to draw Ganesh, and I stuck the sticky note to the bowl, and I've been putting candy in it for Ganesh. I know he likes the stuff. And I've been chanting one of his chants, when I have the attention span. I'm going to look up the local Hindu temple and see how they'd feel about me stoppping by; I can't imagine they'd object.

I self-identify as 'pagan' in the little blurb at the top of this journal; I'm less and less sure it fits me, though. I suppose I could try to find a local circle or at least a couple of folks who play the same way. Or I could hang out with Tim, which I do some anyway, but these days it seems like if we talk about religion, it's Christianity. We'll see.

In any case, the journey's going to be interesting no matter where (or if) I wind up. And no matter where (or if) that is, I think it's gonna be okay as long as I keep doing the good thing.

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